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The curious religions of multiplayer video games

Online gamers are putting gods in the machine.

These days, it’s a common refrain that the youth of the first world are growing up godless: Church and temple attendance have plummeted in developing countries. Meanwhile, those same young people are increasingly plugged in: Gaming, especially online gaming, has become a multibillion-dollar industry.

But what if they’re having religious experiences inside those very games? William Sims Bainbridge, a sociologist who has been studying religion for more than 40 years, turned his attention toward religion within gaming in 2007 and found far more worshipers there than you might expect.

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